I had a birthday on Wednesday, and my friends drove their cars in front of my house to celebrate me by waving, shouting, and giving gifts. Not only was it a joy to see them after so long, but it was a wonderful reminder of the importance of community.
Everyone feels love differently – we’ve talked about that before – but when you take the time to make someone else feel special, you add to the story of who they believe themselves to be, and how important they believe they are in the circle of people around them.
It matters when you show up for people.
Even God, throughout the tapestry of the Old and New Testaments, understood what it meant for a divine power to show up for his creations. From the cloud of Transfiguration to the burning bush, or Elijah under the juniper tree to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea; from the birth of Jesus to visiting people on the day of Resurrection, God knows what it means to us when he shows up in big ways.
One of my favorite stories of “showing up” is a famous one…
Now Mary stood outside of the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”John 20:11-16
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
The woman in the passage is Mary Magdalene, not to be confused with the other five Mary’s mentioned in the Bible. (Contrary to popular belief, Mary of Magdala was not a prostitute, and you can read more about that here.) She was believed to be one of the members that funded the traveling disciples with Jesus and a close confidant of Jesus himself.
I’ve heard many pastors give this Mary grief over the years, but in a moment of overwhelming sorrow like we see in John 20, you can hardly hold it against her for not recognizing who she was speaking to. Her senses were warped, not to mention she just spoke to angels inside the tomb who have been described as terrifying to behold. I imagine we would be pretty shaken up, too!
And then, one word. Jesus could have said anything. He could’ve pulled the “I am that I am” out of the ol’ book, or he could’ve jumped and said “Surprise! Told ya so!” But he didn’t. He chose a name. Her name.
See, Jesus could’ve risen from the dead, ascended into heaven and been done with the whole thing. But Jesus chose to stick around to prove it, and he revealed himself to over 500 people.
Even though Jesus did what he said he was going to do, people were still surprised that he showed up for them.
There are people in your life you would show up for day or night, and there are people on the fringes who probably wouldn’t show up for you. Whatever the matter, your Savior is going to show up for you continually. You may never know the lengths to which God saves you from the world around you, but be sure of this: God shows up for you every day.
To flip the coin, how often do you show up for him? Is he a once-a-week visitation or is he absorbed into your lifestyle? He doesn’t ask us to be perfect; He just asks us to try.
Have faith in knowing that Jesus throws a parade for you every day, showering you in heavenly gifts and – best of all – his unending love. Do you hear him calling your name?